Traveling Solo: 10 Tips for a Successful Road Trip

woman driving a Lexus

Source | Dawn Gibson-Thigpen

Traveling solo can be exciting and quite fulfilling. However, it can also be a challenge, especially if you're a woman.

Now don't get me wrong, women travel alone all the time. It can help you get out of your comfort zone and find out new things about yourself. So trust me when I say, never let your gender stop you from taking that much needed trip.

I have taken several solo road trips and have always had a blast. It gives me the freedom to do what I want when I want, and it helps me discover why I was pegged the "Lone Wolf" and "Ms. Independent" at an early age. I used to hate those quote unquote titles, now I embrace them.

If your inner Lone Wolf is dying to come out follow the tips listed below to make your next solo road trip a success!

1. Destination

luggage on a bed

Source | Dawn Gibson-Thigpen

Picking a destination that you are comfortable with and excited about is important. Yes, city and state are important, but where you will be living while there can be even more important.

Stay at a nicer hotel or an AirBNB that has detailed pics and great reviews. I know budget can play a big role, but when traveling alone it is always best to stay in a secure and safe location.

Pro Tip

If you are planning a road trip where you will be driving for long hours, ensure you research hotels that are safe and secure along the way.

2. Pack Light

luggage being packed in an SUV

Source | Dawn Gibson-Thigpen

When road tripping, make a conscious decision to only bring the things that you will wear and use. OK! OK! I have been known to break this rule a time or two, and it made my time on the road a lot harder to manage. If you do succeed in sticking to the pack light rule, it will definitely make your trip more enjoyable and a lot easier.

3. General Car Maintenance

About a week before your trip, take your car in for general maintenance. It is smart and very important to ensure things like your tires and brakes are in good shape, fluids are topped off, light bulbs are working properly etc. etc., before hitting the road.

4. Be Prepared

boxed jump starter on an open engine bay

Source | Dawn Gibson-Thigpen

Preparing your car for an upcoming road trip is great. However, also consider taking additional precautions in case the unexpected happens. A few ways of doing so is by investing in a roadside-assistance program, and having a few car essentials on hand that will help you handle minor issues on your own.

portable jump starter ready for use

Source | Dawn Gibson-Thigpen

Emergency car-related essentials:

  • Lithium ion jump starter — This device can be used to charge a phone, eliminates the need for assistance from strangers and no special automotive knowledge required.
  • Slime tire repair kit A tire repair kit can help you get off the side of the road and to a shop for a proper repair.
  • Victor Emergency RoadSide Kit The Victor 36-Piece Emergency Road Kit includes all the necessary tools and equipment to assist in most minor roadside emergencies.
  • Mole Flash Light This water resistant flashlight is perfect for the glove box, pocket or purse.

5. Know your Limit

While road tripping it is important to know your limit and pace yourself. If you need to stop to regroup, that is perfectly fine. I remember when I drove a little over 1300 miles (Michigan from Florida). After about nine hours, I checked into a hotel that I researched beforehand and when I woke up that next morning, I was ready to take on the world again.

6. Share Your Location

woman posing on vacation

Source | Dawn Gibson-Thigpen

Always tell someone where you are. It is very important to let a friend and/or family member know where you are during the duration of your trip.

There are several ways to stay in touch. You can call, text or FaceTime. You can also do so by sending a pin to your location. When you share it with your friend/family member they will know exactly where you are.

Additionally, let someone know what day and time you will start the trip and when you will be returning home.

7. Stay Connected

When on the road, always make sure you stay connected. While packing, ensure you have extra phone chargers and battery packs. Also, ensure that your battery packs are charged and that your phone stays charged for the duration of the trip.

8. Be Safe, Be Aware, Be Smart

  • Check your surroundings — Always pay attention to details. If anything looks shady don't be afraid to hang back until the coast is clear or alert someone of possible danger.
  • Keys in your hand —A lot of the newer model cars come with key fobs that unlock the doors when you approach the vehicle. However, if that is not the case, make sure you have your keys in hand when heading to the car.
  • Check the back seat — Always take a quick glance at your backseat before entering your car. If it's too dark to tell, wait until the interior lights come on before entering.
  • Lock your doors — Always lock your doors. You can never be too safe.
  • Do not leave valuables in plain sight — It's always a bad idea to leave valuables in plain sight while parked and/or driving. If you can't keep the item on you, under the seat or in the trunk is best.
  • Never pull over for anyone — If someone is hurt or their car has broken down and you feel inclined to help, call 911 instead and tell the operator their location. You don't want to put yourself in any unnecessary danger.
  • Do not carry a lot of cash — Only carry an amount of cash that you need for the trip (small bills only). Also, let your credit card company know you're traveling.
  • Stay gassed up — Always watch your gas tank. It would be an absolute bummer to run out of gas in the middle of nowhere.
  • Have A Hide A Key — What happens if you accidentally drop your car key/fob? Always have a hide-a-key stashed somewhere outside your car. Just be smart where you hide it.

9. Visit Well-Lit and Busy Establishments

woman working on a laptop in a restaurant

Source | Dawn Gibson-Thigpen
salad in a restaurant

Source | Dawn Gibson-Thigpen

While exploring new places, avoid deserted and dark places. You want to visit locations that are well lit. I love visiting coffee shops and dining at delicious restaurants. This way I can work, try out new foods and connect with the locals.

In addition to chatting it up with locals and trying delicious new foods, I also like taking part in new adventures.

10. Don't share too much information

woman on a 4-wheeler

Source | Dawn Gibson-Thigpen

It's great to chat with locals. However, don't tell them you are traveling alone or where you are staying. It's best to keep that bit of information to yourself. You don't want to become an easy target.

I hope these tips inspire you to take your next road trip with confidence. I always ensure I incorporate them while on the road. It inspires people to start their own pleasant journeys safely and confidently.

Editor's Note: Ready for the next step? Learn more about how to plan your dream road trip, and get expert tips on packing

Last updated August 29, 2020